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Victims of Crime – Criminal and Civil Court

Appearing in criminal court

As a victim of a crime, you may be requested to come to court to give testimony against the accused in your case.

The Crown Prosecutor or defence counsel may subpoena you so that you must come to court. If you are subpoenaed and you do not go to court, a witness warrant may be issued against you and you can be arrested and brought into court by the police.

If you are testifying, you must tell the truth, or risk being charged with perjury for lying under oath. Importantly, nothing you say while testifying on the stand can be used as evidence against you criminally. For example: You were selling drugs in an alley way and the person buying the drugs from you robbed you – beat you up and stole your wallet. You are now testifying as the victim of the robbery. The Crown Prosecutor asked you what you were doing in the alleyway – and you answered that you were selling drugs. Even though you admitted in court that you were doing an illegal activity, you could not later be prosecuted for trafficking drugs because you were forced (subpoenaed) to go to court that day and answer questions about the incident.

Civil lawsuits

You can sue someone that hurt you in civil court. Superior court claims are for damages over $35,000. Small claims court, for claims under $35,000, provides a simplified procedure you to make a legal action against somebody who harmed you. For more information, see the Small Claims Court section.

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